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The consensus seems to be that the U.S. economy is heading toward an economic downturn of indeterminant proportions. And rates won’t be doing credit unions any favors as the Fed has softened its stance on increasing rates – in fact, it has indicated a potential cut, pinching credit union margins. As a former credit union CEO, I believe now is the perfect time for credit unions to grow their market share.

Credit unions have experienced tremendous growth in many areas, but especially auto lending. Even as other types of lenders have slowed due to slower demand and record default rates, credit unions haven’t slowed nearly as much and are not experiencing the same trouble. Karim Habib of CUNA Mutual recently shared during the MDDCCUA Annual meeting that credit union auto loan balances are at record highs, experiencing 9.4% CAGR between 2012 and 2017. Credit unions have grown the most market share at 14.8%, with 20.1% of the growth coming through indirect loans and direct loans trailing behind in growth at 8.7%. He projected auto loans to account for 61% of credit union lending by 2021, up from 56% as of 2017.

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